Daniel Boone and His Image

Daniel Boone was a frontiersman from the state of Pennsylvania. Born on November 2nd 1734 near Reading, Pennsylvania. He died on September 26, 1820 in Femme Osage Creek, Missouri.[1] There are many tales of Daniel Boone as he settled west into new territories such as Kentucky. Some of these tales have been made up throughout the years by word of mouth, while some have some truth behind them. You can say that the truth has been stretched in these tales. There was a TV show in the 1960’s into the 1970’s that portrayed Daniel Boone as a large man who wore a coonskin cap and fought off Native Americans. Another tale of when Daniel Boone was out in the woods and encountered a bear. Now Daniel Boone is a patient man and was then chased by the bear into a tree, he then reached through the bear and grabbed its tail. When he got a hold of the tail he then pulled the bear inside out.

Daniel Boone was portrayed by many things from movies to comic strips. There are so many different ways he has been shown that there is a lot of misunderstanding on what he actually looked like. Daniel Boone in fact did not wear a coonskin cap, but people believe that because he wore one in the popular Daniel Boone TV show that aired on NBC. He was played by Fess Parker in the TV show, and Fess Parker was a bigger man, also with the coonskin gave the misunderstanding that Daniel Boone was a bigger man. But, in reality he was smaller and did not wear such a hat. He was also described as “the ripin’est, roarin’est, fighten’est man the frontier ever knew!”[i][2] But this was a portrayal that was all brought over from Fess Parker’s role as Davy Crocket in another TV show. So, Daniel Boone was a man who was misinterpreted by many people due to the way that he was shown in popular television and movies. The height and weight of people in the 18th century was rarely recorded and no one knows Daniel Boone’s real height and weight, but basing the size of an individuals looks from a TV show is just not possible. There is no photographic evidence of height of Daniel Boone since it was so long ago, it was all skeptical. So showing him with the coonskin cap and being a big burly man is plain not true. It helps assign a look of a frontiersman and start a new trend of the American West as a hard place where real men went to live.

One day while out hunting Daniel Boone to fill up his supply of meat and furs, he was chased by a bear. At the time he was not looking to fight the bear but was chased up a tree. Now, Daniel Boone was a patient man and waited for the bear to come up the tree after him to act against it. He knew that the bear would follow him up the tree and this is when he acted. “Daniel Boone didn’t do a thing but run his fist down the bear’s throat, all the way through the bear, and out the other end. Daniel Boone grabbed the bear’s tail, gave it a big yank, and turned the bear inside out.”[3] The bear that now was inside out then rolled down the side of the tree and was no longer a threat to Daniel Boone. From real life it is impossible to turn a bear inside out. There have been news stories of people sticking their arms down the throats of bears but not turning them inside out. Daniel Boone was an amazing frontiersman and hunter/trapper but there is no way he could have done that.  No one can do that. So the tale of Daniel Boone turning a bear inside out with a swift tug of the tail is highly unlikely. While he might have encountered a bear and hunted said bear is a possibility.

Daniel Boone was a man whose image was shaped incorrectly due to many factors like movies and television shows. He was portrayed as a big burly man who fought Native Americans and wore a coonskin cap. This was wrong in a lot of ways. And there are tales of Daniel Boone getting chased up a tree by a bear and pulling it inside out by reaching down its throat, grabbing its tail, and yanking it so it turned inside out. But this is not possible to be done in real life due to the possibility of being mauled by a bear and your arm not being long enough to turn that bear inside out. So in this situation of being of being chased by a bear, what would you have done? It’s the difference between life or death.

Erik Fulleton

daniel boone

[1] Daniel Boone. Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 12 Nov. 2015. Web. 13 Nov. 2015

[2] Biography.com Editors. “Daniel Boone Biography.” Bio.co. A&E Networks Televison, n.d. Web. 13 Nov. 2015.

[3] Hamilton, Mary. Kentucky Folktales: Revealing Stories, Truths, and Outright Lies. Lexington, KY: U of Kentucky, 2012. Print.

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